Book Review – The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

Summary from Goodreads

The Chrysalids is set in the future after a devastating global nuclear war. David, the young hero of the novel, lives in a tight-knit community of religious and genetic fundamentalists, always on the alert for any deviation from the norm of God’s creation. Abnormal plants are publicly burned, with much singing of hymns. Abnormal humans (who are not really human) are also condemned to destruction—unless they succeed in fleeing to the Fringes, that Wild Country where, as the authorities say, nothing is reliable and the devil does his work. David grows up ringed by admonitions: KEEP PURE THE STOCK OF THE LORD; WATCH THOU FOR THE MUTANT. At first he does not question. Then, however, he realizes that the he too is out of the ordinary, in possession of a power that could doom him to death or introduce him to a new, hitherto unimagined world of freedom.


The Chrysalids by John Wyndham is a book that has sat at the fringes of my interest for a long time, neither forgotten nor explored, even before I read and enjoyed The Day of the Triffids. I first heard about the novel from my older brother many years ago when he was reading it for a high school English class. While I distinctly remember him saying he found it boring, the idea of religious extremism directed at physical mutation and/or deformity in a post-apocalyptic world left a lasting impression on me.Read More »